The Municipality of Argyle became the latest of the tri-county region’s municipal units to express support for a ban on single-use plastic bags when it discussed the matter at its committee-of-the whole meeting of April 24.
Councillors unanimously passed a motion supporting “a province-wide ban on single-use plastic bags, provided that the ban is part of a province-wide strategy and promotional campaign to reduce the use of all single-use plastic products.”
The resolution has to be approved at a regular Argyle council meeting to become official.
Argyle is the fifth of six municipal units in Region 7 – which covers Yarmouth and Digby counties – to pass such a motion.
The Municipality of Clare was the only unit left in Region 7 that had not done so, but Gus Green, general manager of Waste Check, said he expected Clare would deal with the matter soon.
Region 6, which covers 13 municipal units, including the five in Shelburne County, passed a motion this past winter supporting a ban on single-use plastic bags. The region did so as a group.
What a ban might look like won’t be known until the province actually says what it’s going to do, Green said.
If there is going to be a ban, he said, the plastic bag industry hopes the province will use essentially the same ban that was introduced in Montreal, where the focus is on carry-out bags but where plastic bags in a grocery store’s produce department, for example, are exempt.
“It’s really just targeting those carry-out bags,” Green said, “because, really, they’re not necessary. There are so many more reusable bags available now that people can just bring back to the store, so this is an example of something that’s really just not needed.”
Last year China announced it would stop importing 24 types of scrap, including film plastic, due to contamination in the material it was getting.
No one is sure if this is a short-term or long-term situation, Green said, but it’s believed China will start accepting this material again at some point because it needs it for its large manufacturing industry.
Green says he thinks the issue will work itself out over time, “but the plastic bag has just been sort of the touchstone for things about plastic in our environment and litter and how we’ve all seen plastic bags flying in the air and caught in trees and things, so it’s just been something tangible that people can really grab hold and say, ‘this is something we can do something about.’”